Thursday, December 09, 2010

Madras Memories

One of my favorite dresses in the early 60's was a madras shirtwaist. It had a peter pan collar, one of those faux straw stretchy belts and a full skirt. I thought I was the bee's knees in that dress and I've always liked madras.


I recently purchased some men’s madras ties, and most of them were from Land’s End. When researching the ties I came across THIS ARTICLE which is full of interesting facts about madras production.


The first cloth hand-woven in (or near) Madras, India, was made of yarn spun from the “tip-skin” of ancient trees. Around 3,000 BC madras cotton appeared and was called “Gada.” Sometime during the 12th century, Gada caught the fancy of Africa and the middle east and was exported there to make head pieces.


In the 1500s they started to block print madras cotton with floral or temple designs. Plaids (or 'checks' as the Indians call them) came into vogue in the 1800s. Many believe madras plaids came from the native hand weavers copying the tartan patterns worn by the Scottish regiments that occupied southern India. Today's madras uses colorfast dyes, unlike the natural dyes that caused madras to run in the 50s and 60s.


My TIES below are relatively modern and dye-fast.



All vintage madras should be dry cleaned to prevent color “bleeding.” Here are two more madras pieces from VFG sellers.

A madras plaid taffeta evening gown from Tasty Vintage



and a mens blue and red blazer from Hooked on Vintage

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